Every restaurant usually has a signature dish, one that’s nearly impossible not to order during any visit. The lamb meatballs at Finca, a favorite establishments of ours in Salt Lake City, is a great example of this. Addictive and soul satisfying the dish has a simple construction of flavors in the meatballs that is centered around the incorporation of toasted fennel seeds, golden raisins, and a touch of cinnamon. The spices and sweetness of the raisins subtly and harmoniously complaint the lamb which is then dressed with a roasted piquillo pepper tomato sauce. Shave some aged manchego on top and you’ve got meatballs that challenge any glutton’s self restraint…if there is such a thing.
So with the intention of spreading good eats, the following is our recreation of Finca’s Lamb Meatballs that is largely based off our own taste buds.
- 2 lbs ground lamb (finer the grind the better)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 garlic clove (mashed to a paste)
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
- Olive oil
- 1/2-1 tsp of salt and pepper (roughly)
- Manchego cheese (grated)
Piquillo Peppers Tomato Sauce
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
- 10 ounces of roasted piquillo peppers (plus/minus a 1-2 ounces)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- Toast up the fennel seeds and then grind them in a mort and pestle.
- While the fennel seeds are toasting, soak the golden raisins in hot water.
- Toss the ground lamb, eggs, lemon zest, fennel, garlic, salt and pepper into a large bowl.
- Time to get crazy…add that cinnamon.
- Shrubbery is highly encouraged, so add some parsley to the bowl.
- Drain the water from the raisin and toss em into the bowl as well.
- Get your hands dirty and thoroughly combine the ingredients together.
- Roll the spiced lamb up into roughly 1 inch sized balls and place on a greased roasting pan or cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with some olive oil and cook the meatballs for 30-35 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
- While the meatballs are cooking take a few minutes to make the sauce. Add the tomatoes, sauce, peppers, and cinnamon to food processor. Hit that puree button and let the magic happen. Sample the sauce adding salt and pepper to taste and additional peppers if the sauce is too tomatoey.
- Shortly before the meatballs are ready heat up the sauce.
- Meatballs are ready when browned with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
- Plate the meatballs and sauce, covering with a heavy shaving of manchego and garnished with parsley.
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